Drug and Alcohol - OPBD Procedure

Approval Date
28 July 2023
Approved By
Executive Leadership Team
Next Review
30 November 2024
Executive Director or equivalent

In line with the expectations of many New Zealand industries and organisations, the Otago Polytechnic Business Division (Otago Polytechnic) has implemented this procedure to ensure the health and safety of all staff (kaimahi), learners (ākonga), contractors, and visitors, while conducting Otago Polytechnic activities.

Many of Otago Polytechnic’s activities involve high-risk situations where clear thinking, decision-making, and machinery operation need to be conducted safely. These activities cannot be compromised. Otago Polytechnic has zero tolerance for the misuse or abuse of alcohol and/or illegal/controlled drugs, possession and/or use of illegal/controlled drugs/substances, or intoxication on all campuses/learning sites.

Note: Otago Polytechnic will only act if it believes a reasonable cause exists.  e.g., if a kaimahi, ākonga, contractor or visitor’s actions and behaviours suggest they may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.



Statutory Compliance:

Land Transport Amendment Act 2017 and all subsequent amendments

Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 and all subsequent amendments

  • Standards/Codes of Practice
  • AS/NZS 4308:2008 Procedures for the Collection, Detection and Quantitation of Drugs of Abuse in Urine
  • AS 3547:2019 Breath Alcohol Testing devices for Personal use.
  • Plantation Forestry Code of Practice Eliminating Alcohol and Other Drugs from the Workplace, 2008/updated 2015. In addition, OPBD Arboriculture programme kaimahi and ākonga are subject to compliance with the Plantation Forestry Code of Practice Eliminating Alcohol and Other Drugs from the Workplace, 2008.
  • Code of Practice – Eliminating alcohol and other drugs from the workplace 2015.

For the purposes of this procedure, the following definitions apply:

Alcohol:  Alcoholic drink, including but not limited to spirits, wine, and beer.

Drugs and controlled drugs:  As defined by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 and any subordinate legislation, including, but not limited to, illegal drugs such as amphetamines, opiates, cannabis, and synthetic cannabinoid.

Field Trip: is an organised occasion in conjunction with an Otago Polytechnic course/programme of study involving kaimahi and ākonga travelling to and being involved in learning activities at an off-campus location which may introduce hazards requiring risk assessment and planning.

Hazard:  An activity, arrangement, circumstance, event, occurrence, phenomenon, process, situation, or substance, (whether arising or caused within or outside a place of work) that is an actual or potential cause or source of harm; and includes:

  • A situation where a person’s actions and or behaviour may be an actual (or potential) cause (or source) of harm to the person or another person(s); and
  • Without limitation, a situation described above resulting from physical or mental fatigue, drugs, alcohol, traumatic shock, or any other temporary condition that affects a person’s actions and/or behaviour.

Learning sites: Inclusive term used for all locations where learning-related activities take place, whether on-campus or off-site. Learning sites may include but are not limited to clinical placement, work placement, work experience, field trips, block course venues, studios.

Kaimahi:  any person employed, by Otago Polytechnic in any capacity.

Negative Result:  Results from any alcohol and/or drug test which are below the thresholds and limits on the testing devices.

  • Non-negative (Unconfirmed Positive) Result:  Results from any alcohol and/or drug test where the initial test results are above the thresholds and limits on the testing devices. The person must be removed from Safety Sensitive Activities until the person can provide a negative test result.

Positive Result:  A recorded second test above the threshold of the alcohol and/or drug test limits within this policy, therefore confirming that the person is impaired and is to be removed from Safety Sensitive Activities until the person can provide a negative test result.

Prescription Medication:   Any medication formally prescribed to a person named on the packaging by a medical practitioner with clear directions for use and taken in accordance with directions for use.

Reasonable Cause Testing:   Kaimahi, ākonga, or contractor who has displayed certain behaviours and is in an area identified as a Safety Sensitive activity will be required to undergo an approved method of testing.

Sanctioned Function:  A function on Otago Polytechnic premises, approved and endorsed by a Formal Leader(s) or member(s) of the Executive Leadership Team, where kaimahi, ākonga, contractors, and/or visitors are invited, and alcohol is provided (purchased or supplied). Examples include but are not limited to Otago Polytechnic student showcases, farewells, and graduation events. Refer to Internal Staff Functions, Gifts and Recognition Otago Polytechnic Business Division Procedure.

Safety Sensitive Activity:  An activity action or decision that has the potential to cause serious harm to any person if the kaimahi, ākonga, contractor, or visitor is impaired by drugs or alcohol.


1. This procedure applies to all kaimahi, ākonga, contractors, and visitors undertaking work, study, or contract activities at Otago Polytechnic; learning sites, or while representing Otago Polytechnic in any capacity.

2. With reference to alcohol and drugs the following are not acceptable actions or behaviours for kaimahi, ākonga, contractors, and visitors:

2.1.      Participating in any Safety Sensitive Activity (refer to Appendix 1), operating machinery, or driving an OPBD vehicle, their own or a hire vehicle on Otago Polytechnic business while impaired by alcohol, or illegal drugs, or while on a course of prescribed medication if such activities are against medical advice and/or where there is a risk of serious injury while being so impaired.

2.1a. This includes any activity undertaken by kaimahi, ākonga, contractors and visitors deemed to be part of Otago Polytechnic business where there is a risk of serious injury or harm while impaired by alcohol or illegal drugs.

2.2.      Introducing, consuming, or possessing an illegal drug/controlled drug or alcohol, or any prescription medication not prescribed to the person on, or in, any Otago Polytechnic learning sites, accommodation ** or any situation where ākonga, are under the supervision of kaimahi.    ** Akonga under the age of 18 must not be accommodated with older learners in OPBD-managed accommodation.

2.2.1. The exceptions are alcohol for OPBD sanctioned functions approved and endorsed by Formal Leaders or Executive Leadership Team, or for food and beverage-related courses/programmes of study.

3. By kaimahi accepting the terms and conditions of employment or ākonga, and signing their enrolment form, they are deemed to have agreed to this procedure and related Te Pūkenga policies and Otago Polytechnic policies/procedures.

4. By signing the contract conditions and undertaking a contractor induction programme, contractors are deemed to have agreed to this procedure, in accordance with the relevant Te Pūkenga policies and Otago Polytechnic policies/procedures.

5. If ākonga are taking any prescribed drugs or medication which are known to exhibit side effects, and/or impair performance they must discuss this in confidence with their Programme Leader, at the earliest opportunity to ensure the safety of themselves and others at all OPBD learning sites.  Dependant on the situation, permission will be sought, if applicable, to disclose this information to work/clinical placements or work experience supervisors to assess the risk and put in place a plan.

6. If a  kaimahi or contractor is taking any prescribed drugs or medication which are known to exhibit side effects, and/or impair performance, they must discuss this, in confidence with their Formal Leader, or a member of the People. Culture and Wellbeing team at the earliest opportunity so work-related activities may be assessed appropriately.

 Testing and Types of Testing
7.      Kaimahi, ākonga, and contractor privacy and confidentiality will be observed to best endeavours.

8. Otago Polytechnic’s testing regime applies to any applicable activity and:

8.1.      Where reasonable cause is suspected.

8.2.      Legislative requirements allow.

8.3.      Post incident or accident or serious near miss, while undertaking any work or learning activity and where the kaimahi, ākonga, or contractor’s actions may have contributed to the accident/incident or serious near miss.

9. All testing will be conducted by an external accredited agency:

9.1.      The breath alcohol test will be conducted using an approved testing device which meets Australian Standard AS 3547-2019 “Breath Alcohol Testing Devices for Personal Use”, and a positive test result will occur when current New Zealand drink-driving laws are exceeded.

9.2.      Drug testing will be conducted by either saliva or urine test and will meet the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4308:2008 “Procedures for specimen collection and the detection and qualifications of drug abuse in urine”, or any later versions.

9.3.      Kaimahi Formal Leader must agree that testing is justified and testing will be completed by externally trained providers.

9.4.      Otago Polytechnic kaimahi will not be trained in how to conduct tests.

10. A person will be offered the opportunity to have a representative of their Union, a legal representative, or a support person present during any testing process. The unavailability of a representative or support person cannot unduly delay the tests being performed.

11. Costs of all alcohol and drug testing undertaken as part of this policy will be covered by Otago Polytechnic.

Receiving Information or Identifying Reasonable Cause

12. Kaimahi,  ākonga or contractor is to make contact with their Formal Leader if they:

12.1.  Suspect someone is impaired by alcohol and/or drugs; or

12.2.  Is advised by a credible source that   kaimahi, ākonga, contractor, or visitor may be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs on an Otago Polytechnic campus; or

12.3.  Observes or is informed by an observer,  kaimahi, ākonga, contractor or visitor, is misusing alcohol, and/or misusing prescribed medication, and/or using, possessing, or distributing illegal/controlled drugs.

The Formal Leader will follow procedures outlined in Appendix 1. Standard Operating Procedures. 

12.3.1 Confidentiality is paramount; the Formal Leader will engage with the Director  Academic Quality for ākonga concerns, and the People,  Culture and Wellbeing Manager or equivalent for kaimahi and contractors.

13.Once reasonable cause has been established, or post-incident, accident or serious near miss, and in order to further assist with achieving the objectives set out in this procedure, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to undertake the search or inspection of any kaimahi, ākonga, or contractor’s property located within Otago Polytechnic campuses inclusive of all Otago Polytechnic accommodation premises

13.1.  For the avoidance of doubt, by bringing personal property onto Otago Polytechnic premises, kaimahi, ākonga, or contractor is deemed to have consented to their property being searched or inspected in accordance with this procedure and in accordance with the relevant Te Pūkenga policies.

 3.2.  Otago Polytechnic may employ specialist drug detection technology and/or a drug detection dog team to conduct a search of an Otago Polytechnic site or building (including Otago Polytechnic accommodation).  If the dog or equipment indicates recent possession and/or use of illegal/controlled drugs by kaimahi, ākonga, or contractor then OPBD may require that person to undergo drug testing in accordance with this procedure and in accordance with the relevant Te Pūkenga policies.

14. f an off-campus learning site i.e.: work/clinical placement/work experience has reasonable cause or concern about the ākonga they:  

  1. a) ask ākonga to leave and contact the relevant Otago Polytechnic Programme Leader or Health and Safety to advise of the action to be taken in respect of their concerns; or
  2. b) contact the Otago Polytechnic Programme Leader or Health and Safety and request the ākonga be instructed to immediately leave the work/clinical placement/work experience.
  3. c) The Programme Leader or Health and Safety will log a near miss on VAULT and carry out an investigation and refer to Clause 18.
  4. Otago Polytechnic operates electronic surveillance equipment (CCTV) within its premises (refer to CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) at Otago Polytechnic Sites policy) and this may be used when investigating suspected illegal/controlled drug and/or alcohol-related activity.


Refusal to Take an Alcohol and/or Drug Test
15.        Kaimahi, ākonga, or contractor, under reasonable cause on a first occasion may use their discretion to leave OPBD premises or OPBD learning activities for the remainder of the day and return to work/study the following day without further question.

15.1.  In the event of any repeat occurrence under reasonable cause within eighteen (18) months OPBD will require the member of kaimahi, ākonga or contractor to undertake alcohol and/or drug testing.

15.2. In the event of reasonable cause being suspected or established a visitor will be asked to leave by the Formal Leader or the manager/supervisor if an OPBD-managed event or in the event of neither of these being available Health and Safety or delegate, and if the visitor is non-compliant the Police will be called to remove the visitor.

16. For a test being conducted due to an accident/incident, kaimahi, ākonga, or contractor must complete the test. There is no option for the person to absent themselves on the first occasion as described in clause 13.

17. If kaimahi, ākonga or contractor is requested to take a drug and/or alcohol test in accordance with this procedure and in accordance with Te Pūkenga policies and refuses to do so they will be required to explain why they are refusing the test to Health and Safety.

18. Director Academic Quality for ākonga or People, Culture and Wellness or equivalent for kaimahi and contractors, in considering the explanation, may deem that the explanation is unreasonable in the circumstance, then either the kaimahi, ākonga or contractor will be required to take the test or face disciplinary action in accordance with the appropriate Te Pūkenga policies and Otago Polytechnic policies and procedures.

18.1 Ākonga, refer to the Te Kawa Maiorooro | Educational Regulatory Framework (TKMF) and OPBD Procedure - Learner Discipline.

18.2 Kaimahi and contractors refer to the Resolving Performance Problems and in accordance with Te Pūkenga policies if they continue to refuse.


Preventative education and representation:
19.       Otago Polytechnic will provide a well-being and safety induction for kaimahi, ākonga and contractors during their Health and Safety Induction and educational kaimahi and ākonga forums to raise the awareness of the contents of this policy, the process that will be followed during testing, and the support services available to kaimahi and ākonga.


Cheating on an Alcohol and/or Drug Test
20.       If   kaimahi, ākonga, or contractor cheats when taking an alcohol and/or drug test, or the person conducting the test has reasonable grounds to suspect that the specimen has been tampered with, Otago Polytechnic may take disciplinary action against, kaimahi, ākonga, or contractor and this may be considered as serious misconduct, in accordance with the appropriate Te Pūkenga policies and Otago Polytechnic policies and procedures for:

20.1 Ākonga in accordance with the appropriate Te Pūkenga policies and Te Kawa Maiorooro | Educational Regulatory Framework (TKMF) and OPBD Procedure - Learner Discipline.

20.2 Kaimahi and contractors in accordance with the appropriate Te Pūkenga policies and Otago Polytechnic Procedures.


Actions Resulting from Breach of this Policy
21.       In accordance with Te Pūkenga policies and if this Otago Polytechnic procedure is breached (including but not limited to a non-negative test result) and at the discretion of the Te Kaihāpai for ākonga or  People, Culture and Safety for kaimahi and contractors, the action taken may include but is not limited to, suspension from work or study activities, removal from the premises, and/or revised study or employment agreements.

22. Otago Polytechnic recognises that drug and alcohol abuse comes in many guises and in extreme cases may be considered an illness. If test results are positive for alcohol and/or drugs, kaimahi and ākonga will be offered help and/or referral for counselling for alcohol and/or drug-related issues and/or addiction, if deemed appropriate. In all cases, discussions will be kept confidential.

23. If kaimahi or a ākonga voluntarily wishes to seek help, then Otago Polytechnic will also support this.

23.1.   Kaimahi are encouraged to seek help using Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

23.2.  All ākonga are encouraged to seek assistance from Otago Polytechnic Student Health and Counselling Services and/or Student Success.

24. If a contractor voluntarily wishes to seek help, then Otago Polytechnic will direct them to the nearest external support agency, however, no financial assistance will be provided.

25. Kaimahi, ākonga or contractors may be required to undertake clearance testing for alcohol and/or drugs where they have been away from work or learning activities as part of the rehabilitative programme at any time for the following twelve (12) months of employment, or study, and are required to maintain clear results.

26. All information that is gathered about kaimahi, ākonga, or contractor for the purpose of compliance in accordance with the appropriate Te Pūkenga policy and Otago Polytechnic procedure (including test results) will be treated as personal and confidential. The collection, storage, and use of such information by Otago Polytechnic will comply with the Privacy Act 2020 and all subsequent amendments.

26.1.   Kaimahi, ākonga, or the contractor will be provided with a copy of the results of any testing.

26.2.  No information relating to any testing or rehabilitation will be disclosed to an external party without the written consent of the kaimahi, ākonga or contractor concerned.

26.3.  Records will be destroyed after eighteen (18) months from the date of the test.

27. Nothing in accordance with the appropriate Te Pūkenga policies or this Otago Polytechnic procedure prevents Otago Polytechnic from involving the New Zealand Police where that is deemed appropriate.



Te Pūkenga Policies


Reference Documents

Event and Field Trip Risk Management (available via Health and Safety on Tūhono.


Appendix 1. Drug and Alcohol Standard Operating Procedure


To provide information on:

  • Safety Sensitive Activities
  • Reasonable Cause Indicators



Safety Sensitive Activities

Definitions of Safety Sensitive Activities include but are not limited to;

  1. Operating and/or using any machinery, for example, but not limited to:
  2. Lathes, mill drills, band saws, welding equipment, furnaces, and automotive equipment.
  3. The use or demonstration of sports, gym, and all adventure equipment.
  4. Hospitality equipment.
  5. Arboriculture equipment including ropes and chainsaws.
  6. Use of needles on patients, including animals.
  7. Testing live equipment – electrical engineering.
  8. Working on scaffolding or at heights.
  9. Hand tools e.g., hammers, chisels, drills.
  10. Driving OPBD vehicles, hire vehicles and personal vehicles used for OPBD business (refer to Driver and Vehicle Safety Policy).
  11. Decision making likely to have adverse effect(s) on the recipient.
  12. Charged with care of others who are dependent and/or vulnerable.
  13. Laboratory work, which includes (but not limited to) mixing or using chemicals.

When ākonga are on placement/work experience, and the organisation where they are located has its own Alcohol and Drug Policy, that organisation’s Alcohol and Drug Policy is followed in the first instance. Where no policy exists on placement/work experience this OPBD procedure is deemed to be in place.

The Executive Leadership Team and the People, Culture and Safety will use their discretion to determine whether or not an activity is safety sensitive or non-safety sensitive, and whether this procedure should apply to any activities not referred to above. The application of this procedure in accordance with the appropriate Te Pūkenga policies and Otago Polytechnic policies and procedures to any activity will be clearly communicated to all kaimahi, ākonga and contractors at the commencement of the activity.

Reasonable Cause Indicators

Examples of physical symptoms or behaviours that may be indicative of being under the influence or impairment of alcohol or drugs, may include, but are not limited to:

  • Odour of alcohol or drugs.
  • Kaimahi, ākonga or contractor’s fitness for work/study may have been a contributing factor to an incident.
  • Following a workplace incident, or near miss.
  • The person displays behaviour that raises concern.
  • There is evidence of possible recent alcohol or drug use.


DETERMINING REASONABLE CAUSE – ask yourself the following questions:

From your observation is there a risk to the health and safety of this person and others?              YES / NO

Are you satisfied that it is reasonably possible that the risk is a result of the possible use of drugs or alcohol?   YES / NO

Refer to reasonable cause indicator  and Formal Leader if the answer to any of the above is “YES”.